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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Women’s Sevens will look to go one better than their runner-up finish in Hong Kong, when they take the field in London this weekend for the final IRB sanctioned tournament for the season.
Coach Chris Lane has named a 12-player squad for the London tournament, with injury to Alexandra Hargreaves and Cobie-Jane Morgan opening up the opportunity for Alicia Quirk and Amy Turner to make their debuts.
The defending world champion Qantas Women’s Sevens will look to return to form in London, after failing to make the final in Dubai late last year and finishing runners up to England in Hong Kong earlier this year.
While winning tournaments is the goal, Lane is impressed with the improvements his team has made between fixtures.
“You obviously go into tournaments wanting to win them, but as long as we continue to improve, we’re successful,” Lane said.
“The core of this group have played together in the last two tournaments.
“We’re obviously going to London with the hope of winning the tournament.”
Eight members of the squad named for London competed in both Dubai and Hong Kong. It includes the experience of Debbie Hodgkinson, Tricia Brown, Bo De La Cruz and Rebecca Tavo, who were members of the 2009 Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens winning side.
Lane has worked his squad hard since Hong Kong and has seen real improvement, adding that more game time will allow for further progress.
“Our improvements have come from hard work and the exciting thing is we’re not even halfway there,” Lane said.
“The more competition we have, the better we’ll be.”
Part of the team’s preparations have included taking a larger group into camp prior to the tournament, with 24 players gaining valuable experience and match practice in controlled scrimmages.
“It’s certainly been a good camp and having the extra girls in has really boosted competition amongst the group,” Lane said.
“You can see the understanding of Sevens growing in the newer girls as they get more game time and train with the more experienced girls.”
The Qantas Women’s Sevens face USA, China and France in the pool stage of London and Lane has no illusions of how tough the competition will be.
“You’re talking about two full-time programs in the USA and China and then you have to consider that France are coming off the back of the Six Nations so they are all going to be up for the challenge,” Lane said.
“I certainly don’t think calling it the pool of death is over stating how tough a draw it is.”
The third IRB-sanctioned Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup will feature 12 teams and run in conjunction with the final round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in London on 12-13 May.
The Qantas Women’s Sevens face China in the first match of the tournament on 12 May at 7:30pm (AEST), before taking on France at 9:52pm (AEST) and closing the pool stage against USA at 1:20am (AEST) on 13 May.
Qantas Women’s Sevens Squad: